Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones

view of stone 969

Corsi 969, approx. 145 x 73 x 40 mm, © Oxford University Museum of Natural History

OUMNH Number: 969  
Name and quarry location: Breccia verde d'Egitto, breccia universale, from Wadi Hammamat, Eastern Desert, Egypt  
Geological description: Metaconglomerate of metamorphic and igneous clasts (pink granite, banded tuff, serpentinite etc) in an epidotised matrix containing chlorite and abundant quartz grains. Cf no.679.  
Comments: The famous breccia verde d'Egitto is also known as breccia universale or universal breccia because it contains clasts of so many different rock types. The ancient Romans called it lapis hecatontalithos, meaning 'stone of a hundred stones', again alluding to its wide variety of constituents. Two quarries have been found at Wadi Hammamat; the pink granite clasts in this sample indicate it came from the more westerly quarry. The stone was quarried in ancient Egyptian times and the first three centuries AD, and has been extensively recycled. Some quarrying took place at nearby Wadi Fawakhir in 1988, supplying the stone known commercially as breccia Fawakhir.  
References: Borghini (1997) 195; Corsi (1845) 198-200; Lazzarini (2002c) 238-240; Harrell (2002a); Harrell (2010a); Mielsch (1985) 64, taf.21; Price (2007) 194  
Further information:

Corsi's classification: Class 10. Pudding-stones; i. Antique pudding-stones  
Corsi's text: 163.6/ S23.2 Altro [Breccia d'Egitto]  

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